Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
New Georgia Tech Coach Has Two-Year Rebuilding Plan
NEWARK, N.J. –– After taking over at Georgia Tech in March, Brian Gregory inherited a situation he could never have foreseen.
In July, the NCAA put the school on four years of probation, fined it $100,000 and stripped its ACC title game victory from the 2009 football season for violations that also included problems in the basketball program.
Georgia Tech did not lose scholarships and was not ruled ineligible for postseason games in football or basketball, but the basketball team had the number of recruiting days and official visits reduced for the next two seasons.
The basketball violations involved a youth basketball tournament held on campus in 2009 and also in 2010. A graduate coaching assistant helped administer both tournaments, violating NCAA prohibitions on scouting. And in 2010, an academic adviser for the team “evaluated prospects and reported his observations” to the coaching staff.
The NCAA called the violations major.
Also in July, wing Brian Oliver opted to transfer to Seton Hall, as first reported by SNY.tv. That left the Yellow Jackets with nine scholarship players.
In response to these developments, Gregory, a former Michigan State assistant under Tom Izzo on the 2000 national championship team, has a two-year plan to rebuild the program that involves holding seven scholarships for the next two recruiting classes.
“We had a couple that we could’ve used in the spring, but we just didn’t find anybody that we felt fit, both basketball-wise and academically and the whole bit,” Gregory, the former Dayton coach, told SNY.tv Tuesday during an open gym at St. Benedict’s Prep.
“So we decided to hold on to those scholarships we have and kind of look at a two-year plan to bring in seven new players over the next two years. That could be two this year and five next year, or three and four or four and three.”
By the 2013-14 season, “seven guys that we’ve recruited will be now in the program, which is important.”
Gregory takes over a team that went 13-18 under former coach Paul Hewitt and returns no seniors. Without Oliver, the new coach and his staff will lean heavily on the team’s only two juniors, Glen Rice Jr. (12.8 ppg, 5.6 rpg) and Mfon Udofia (6.7 ppg, 2.1 rpg).
“They’ve done a good job and a lot’s going to be on their shoulders, not just on the court, but off the court as well,” Gregory said.
Gregory expects them to both “set a standard” and “hold other people accountable as well.”
Gregory has spent the early part of this week recruiting in the fertile North Jersey area. He was at St. Anthony Monday and St. Benedict’s Tuesday.
At St. Anthony, he was looking at 6-3 2013 guards Hallice Cooke and Josh Brown.
At St. Ben’s, he was part of a huge crowd of coaches who’ve come in recently for 6-2 2013 floor general Tyler Ennis. (Read more on Ennis here.)
Gregory is not permitted to comment on specific recruits, but is well aware of the rich recruiting base in the North Jersey area.
“Think about Georgia Tech,” he said. “We’ve had great success bringing in New York/New Jersey area players, Kenny Anderson, Stephon Marbury, Bruce Dalrymple, John Salley, go down the list.
“So it’s a great recruiting area and…Georgia Tech has a national brand. And Atlanta’s a great city. The one thing we can do at Georgia Tech, guys don’t have to compromise. They’re going to play at the highest level of basketball, they’re going to get a world-class education and they’re going to be in a city that diversity, cultural is second to none.
“And the weather’s pretty warm, too.”
(The AP contributed)
Adam Zagoria is a Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. A contributor to The New York Times and SportsNet New York (SNY), he is also the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist and filmmaker. His articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide. He also won an Emmy award for his work on the SNY mini-documentary on Syracuse guard Tyus Battle.
A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013.
He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.